Collections Up Close

collections up close Blog

Collecting pieces of Minnesota's past for the future


The Minnesota Historical Society preserves and makes available a wide range of materials chronicling Minnesota's history and culture. The goals of the Collections Department are to collect and preserve; provide access and interpretation; and engage in education and outreach. This blog is a tool to share these stories and let people know what is happening in the department.

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Northwest Airlines flight attendant's uniform, 1965 - 66.

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | February 21, 2019

Since the History Theater is doing a production of "Stewardess" currently, we thought it a good time to feature a matching uniform from our collection. This one is a Northwest Airlines flight attendant's uniform, worn in the winter of 1965 - 66.

Learn more about the production.

Ski Lesson, 1945

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | February 20, 2019

This photo shows a ski lesson in 1945. All this snow should be good for something!

Hot Pad, 1950

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | February 19, 2019

It is likely a sound advertising strategy to market your product directly to its most frequent user; here we see a flour ad on a hot pad.  This was made in 1950 for King Midas Flour and Shane Brothers and Wilson Company, both of Minneapolis. 

Willie Murphy, c. 1990

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | February 15, 2019

We were saddened to learn of the recent passing of Willie Murphy, the musical legend of the West Bank.
This 1990 portrait of Murphy by Minnesota artist Greg Kelsey (1951-91) is a recent addition to our art collection. It was donated in his memory by Kelsey's widow Sally Johnson, Director of the Groveland Gallery in Minneapolis.

Valentine, 1868

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | February 14, 2019

Happy Valentine's Day! This chromolithographed paper valentine was used in 1868, making it one of the oldest in our collection.

Remember Rondo button, 1984

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | February 13, 2019

This button is one of several in the collection commemorating historic Rondo Avenue in Saint Paul, the largely African-American neighborhood that was destroyed when 94 was built to connect the downtowns of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. It was used at the Remember Rondo Festival in 1984 and shows the extent of the neighborhood.

View of plow train in deep snow, 1917

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | February 12, 2019

This photo was taken by John Runk in 1917 and shows a plow train stuck in deep snow.

The Snow Flake Cook Book, 1886

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | February 11, 2019

When I saw this title I thought, wow, what could this contain? But Snow Flake turns out to be the name of a baking powder. It proceeds as a usual 19th-century cookbook, with recipes in paragraphs, but does have some fun testimonials in the back from chemists, grocers, and users, noting its popularity and that it's alum-free.   

Credjafawn Co-op Store, Interior View, 1948

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | February 8, 2019

This is an interior view of the Credjafawn Co-op store, located at 678 Rondo in Saint Paul, 1948. The Credjafawn Social Club started in 1928 as a social and recreational space for young African-Americans; later it created a food cooperative as well as a credit union to assist community members in financing their homes and educations.

See the Credjafawn Social Club papers.


Mac Martin Advertising Agency

By: Lori Williamson | Item of the Day | February 7, 2019

Access has recently become available to some great audio-visual materials within manuscript collections. One of those collections is of the Mac Martin Advertising Agency. Established by Mac Martin in 1904, it became one of the largest advertising agencies in the country. Martin was a prominent figure in the advertising and business community of Minneapolis for more than fifty years.  

See the finding aid here for access to the AV materials!